La Résistance et La Religion
In 5-days, I’ll be going under the knife for hip arthroscopy. That will be followed by a lengthy recovery period with no weight bearing. The couch will become my best friend.
With three classes remaining until my degree, I had to make arrangements to continue taking classes. With a 4-6 week period of no weight bearing, the last thing I want to do is spend two evenings a week hobbling from class to class on crutches. Even with a handicapped sticker, you cannot avoid a lot of walking on campus.
I reached out to a few professors to seek alternatives. One of them volunteered to independent study this semester. This was tremendous. This has always an option, but since it takes a lot of time for the overworked faculty, it is difficult to find someone to agree to it. I cannot thank this instructor enough.
The best part is he left it up to me to choose a topic. He’s an expert on warfare, specifically WWI and WWII, plus he is a film buff. I gave him a few options, including some I thought would be easier on him. One of those options was to do something related to film during WWII, which was what I was hoping for. He agreed to that one. It may be a little more work on his end, but it sounds like it’ll be a little more interesting than what he usually encounters.
We worked to fine tune the topic. With WWII film, it is too easy to cast your net too wide. My first proposal was far too ambitious. He had me narrow it down to a single nationality and an aspect of one war. And he ruled out American films, simply because there are far too many WWII films, during and after. I chose post-war French cinema regarding the German Occupation of France.
I’ve already narrowed down a dozen or so films, which is probably the upper limit of what I’ll cover. It is heavy on Melville and Malle, with some other big names littered in. I’ve cracked a book on the Resistance, and once I make headway with that, I’ll start delving into the movies and working out a thesis. This blog should be a good way to vocalize my thoughts as I digest film to film. The first three selections are Army of Shadows, The Sorrow and the Pity, and Leon Morin, Priest.
The other class is also film related. It is an online religion through film class. The focus is on religion, and rather than focusing on deeper, classical films, the professor has chosen more recent, mainstream selections. The theme of the class is to look through these films to find religious ideas. Some will be more overt (O’ Brother Where Art Thou, Tree of Life), while others will be subtle (The Social Network). The films will not all be necessarily good. The universally reviled Jack and Jill, for instance, is on the syllabus to explore Judaism. And there are some that I would’t ordinarily see, like P.S. I Love You.